Articles Posted in Estate Planning

Since 1970, marijuana has been classified as a Schedule I substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act in addition to other drugs like cocaine, heroin, and LSD. The cultivation or possession of marijuana is a federal crime unless used for federally approved research.

Despite these federal laws, various states have begun to legalize the use of marijuana of certain types and in certain ways. As a result, it is increasingly likely that people in New York who engage in estate planning will have some type of cannabis related assets. There will also be an increase in the  number of other complex estate planning issues regarding cannabis. As a result, this article examines some of the most important issues that are likely to arise concerning estate planning and marijuana.

The Current Status of Marijuana in New York State

In March 2019, the Supreme Court of Nebraska affirmed the decisions of a county court in the case of In re Estate of Helms. Many years after Helms was killed in a terrorist bomb, his estate obtained a wrongful death judgment in federal court finding that Helms was a domicile in North Carolina and that damages would be distributed in the manner permitted by North Carolina law A dispute, however, arose about whether North Carolina or Nebraska law applied to Helm’s case A county court later ruled that the Helms’ case should be divided in accordance with North Carolina, and this decision was then affirmed by the state’s Supreme Court.

While the Helms case reflects the problems that can arise in deciding what state probate laws should apply to a case, there is also a risk that a person could be double taxed if that individuals maintains a residence in multiple states. As a result, this article reviews some of the most important things about domicile that you should remember when it comes to estate planning.

Creating or Changing a Domicile

Over the years, our law firm has a number of people achieve a variety of estate planning goals. Some of the clients we have helped have tried to use do it yourself estate planning tools, which are widely available online, in an effort to save money and time.

What many people do not understand, however, is that attempting create these important estate planning documents online with do it yourself documents often results in a person facing numerous additional costs.

The Difference Professional and Do It Yourself Documents

In March 2019, the Alabama Supreme Court heard an influential estate planning decisions. The case was initiated by Chris Jones, who appealed a circuit court decision regarding a will contest about a will written by Jones’ father. Chris Jones initially filed the case in probate court because the probate court failed to admit the will to probate or to appoint a personal representative of the estate. Around this time, Jones also filed a motion transfer the will to an Alabama circuit court which led to a review by the Alabama Supreme Court.

In its decision, the court held that the circuit court had lacked jurisdiction and as a result the circuit court’s judgment was void and the case was dismissed. This case serves an important reminder about the role that a probate court can have in deciding how an estate is divided.

Probate court in New York as well as every other state has the potential to be a long and drawn out process. As a result, many people during the estate planning process decide to take the steps necessary to avoid probate. In the state of New York, there are a number of ways to bypass the probate process, which will be reviewed in this article.

In a case that provides an important lesson about the role of charitable deductions, The Ninth Circuit recently affirmed a tax court’s decision to sustain a deficiency against an estate because the estate had overstated its amount of charitable deductions. In the case, Ahmanson Foundation v. United States, the Ninth Circuit emphasized that a person who creates an estate is only allowed a deduction for estate tax purposes for what the charity actually received.  

In addition to estate planning, taxpayers in the United States have relied on charitable donations for years to reduce their taxable income. The Tax Policy Center even reports that approximately 20 percent of people who file their taxes utilize charitable donations. Unfortunately, not every contribution that a person makes to a charity qualifies for tax deductions. As a result, this article reviews some of the various ways that a person can transfer assets to a charity and not qualify for a tax deduction.

# 1 – Contribution of Services

There are a number of risks associated with the estate planning process. Some of the risks involved with estate plans include how interest rates will change and how old the creator of the estate lan is when they die.  Not to mentions, tax laws change frequently and depending on the alterations to the law that occur, a person’s estate plan could be greatly affected.

Fortunately, by following some important suggests, it is possible to greatly reduce the risks associated with successful estate planning.

# 1 – Determine What Risk Factors Exist

In February 2019. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case of Pappas v. Phillip Morris, in which the plaintiff pursued Connecticut state law liability claim on behalf of her deceased husband’s estate. The district court previously dismissed some of the plaintiff’s claim on the basis that Connecticut did not allow the plaintiff to represent the estate of her husband pro se.

The conflict of the case, however, concerned Connecticut and federal law which when applied had different results to whether the plaintiff would be allowed to represent the estate pro se.

New York Pro Se Estate Lawsuits

Annual nursing home costs on the rise according to the New York Department of Health. As a result, the costs for nursing home care is beyond the financial resources of many New York residents. To pay the costs of Medicaid, many elderly individuals are dependent on Medicaid, which pays for residential nursing services and assisted living facilities.

To qualify for Medicaid, it often becomes essential for a person to spend down their savings until they qualify to receive Medicaid. Early planning and the assistance of a knowledgeable estate planning attorney are the best way to make sure that you qualify for Medicaid.

This article reviews some of the other important pieces of advice that a person should take into consideration when planning to spend down assets.

There are a number of potential scams about which you be mindful when performing estate planning. In addition to things like large fees and trust mills, estate planning scams can also include advisors who offer inaccurate legal advice. The purpose of this article to review some of the most tips that you should follow to decrease your chances of following victim to an estate planning scam.

# 1 Do Not Wait to Create an Estate Planning

Most people have some wish or desire that they want to reflect in an estate plan. This can include the creation of a special needs trust or assets that a person would like to pass to loved ones. Even though it is true that estate planning documents help to avoid the uncertainty about how a person’s estate should be handled, a large number of people wait to create an effective estate plan. This increases a person’s chances of ending up victim of an estate plan because elderly individuals are the group most susceptible to estate planning scams. This is because a large number of elderly individuals suffer from reduced capacity and more likely than others to end up making poor decisions about how their estate should be handled.

To create the best possible estate plan, it is critical to not only tell your advisor important information about your case. It is also critical to be honest. Failure to honestly disclose information about your financial status can lead to a number of serious complications and can sometimes even require your advisor to perform estate planning all over again. Unfortunately, there are a number of important things that people forget to disclose their estate planning advisor, which is why this article will list some of the important things that you should remember to mention.

# 1 – Family Issues

Many people with challenging family issues can find these matters difficult to discuss even though they have the potential to greatly interfere with a person’s estate plans. Often, an experienced estate planning attorney can help create estate plans that take these issues into considerations. For example, in situations where a person has an adult child with substance abuse, it might be possible to create a trust or other type of estate planning device to pass assets to the child. In deciding whether details should be disclosed to an estate planning lawyer, it is important to inform an estate planning advisor about any former spouses, any child support that you pay, any existing legal agreements in your family, or any relationships that you might have that could lead to financial obligations.

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